WSO and Winnipeg Philharmonic Choir Celebrate Anniversary

Laura ManningArts

WINNIPEG, MB. – The Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra (WSO) and the Winnipeg Philharmonic Choir are coming together in some of the most beautiful French music to help celebrate the 200th anniversary of the Archdiocese of Saint Boniface, March 23-25.

“We’re going to play some of the most beautiful choir pieces ever written,” said Elise Lavallée, WSO Assistant Principal Violist. “Fauré’s Requiemis really a piece of light and sweetness. Plus, Poulenc’s Gloria, and Malcolm Forsyth’s Three Métis Songs right here in the heart of the Métis Nation.”

Fauré’s exquisite Requiem features well-known local soloists Lara Ciekiewicz, soprano, who has been hailed as “mesmerizing” (Classical Voice of North Carolina) and “a clear standout” (San Francisco Classical Voice), and Matthew Pauls, baritone, who is also an assistant professor of music at the Canadian Mennonite University.

Fauré began the Requiem in 1887 “just for the pleasure of it,” but it is thought that the impetus came from the passing of his parents around that time. Surprisingly, Fauré was an avowed agnostic, and therefore fashioned the Requiem as a work to console and comfort the living rather than as a more literal testament of faith. The exquisite Pie Jesu from the Requiem guaranteed the composer immortality. Fauré wrote: “Everything I managed to entertain by way of religious illusion I put into my Requiem, which moreover is dominated from beginning to end by a very human feeling of faith in eternal rest.” Purity, objectivity, and beautifully crafted vocal lines permeate Fauré’s greatest work.

Poulenc’s music began to express his Catholic faith after the death of talented musical friend. “Pondering on the fragility of our human frame, the life of the spirit attracted me anew,” Poulenc wrote. Imagining angels and monks play, Poulenc labeled Gloria simply as a “joyous hymn to the glory of God,” selecting his texts from the second section of the Mass Ordinary: traditional songs from the fifth century sung by the angels on the night of the Nativity in praise of the Christ child.

WSO Music Director Alexander Mickelthwate will lead the first two performances, and Winnipeg Philharmonic Choir Artistic Director and Conductor Yuri Klaz will lead the third and final performance on Sunday.

Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra

Photo from Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra